A Bit of a Makeover

Soooooo…what do you think of my new ‘do??

Isn’t it fantastic?? If I was 20 years younger, I’d probably get away with saying I think it is totes amazeballs…but I’m not cool enough, or young enough, so…yeah.

That delicious piece of eye candy that is my new header was designed by my talented, creative, totes amazeballs* friend**, Angela. Isn’t she cleeeeveeeeeerrrrr?

She’s captured the essence of my blog just perfectly; the book open over the toes of my gummies? THE BEST. Seriously.

Sigh. I love this space again.

Also – thanks to Simone for her free social media buttons AND her simple-to-follow instructions which meant I installed them all by myself. Yeah yeah, I totes did.

*Did that work?? Have I just totally, like, ruined the saying of 2013?

** Yeeeeep. She’s my friend. We hang out ‘n stuff. I’ve seen her in her lawnmowing clothes.


Memories and Macarons

Over the weekend, I got all blitzy and decided to clear out the wooden chest in the corner of our lounge. It’s always been the “I don’t know where it goes so it can go in here” place, but like a woman possessed, I decided that Sunday was the day to go through it all.

I bagged up everything that was my husband’s, and he scanned through it quickly, deciding to keep everything. Whatevs. That’s his prerogative.

But I got ruthless. All my old school books? In the bin. Random bits of paper with meaningless things on them? In the (recycling) bin. Old school projects? In. The. Bin.

Some of my artwork from when I was little was too special to throw out, so I kept those. The pictures I could bear to part with, I photographed first, as a way of preserving it for some unknown future use. I came across a box full of old birthday cards, including ones from both sets of grandparents who have passed away, handmade ones from my brother and sister, and three very special ones from my dear friend, Cookie Bear. These, I kept.

As I was doing my blitz, a part of me wondered if I shouldn’t just hold on to everything, as a way of, you know, preserving my past or something. My mother is a hoarder – not pathologically, but she doesn’t throw anything away unless it is threadbare or utterly kaput – and a child of the Depression. She saves everything for the day when it might come in handy, and I think my constant cleaning and cleansing is a way of going against this.

Sure, there are times when I get ruthless, and then a few months later, wonder what I’ve done with something that I suddenly can’t live without, and then I regret my blitzing tendencies. But most of the time, I think carefully about what I’m getting rid of, I ponder it for a while and then make my decision: keep or cull. And then I act. Pow.

Also on Sunday, I decided it was time to try making macarons. I’d pinned this recipe ages ago, and it was finally time to give it a go.


They took a lot longer to prepare than I expected. I did spend some time online checking out techniques and troubles, trying to work out exactly what my egg whites should look like when they were done. I also had trouble with my piping nozzle and the size of my pre-drawn circles, and in the end, went freehand.

As the first tray baked, I saw straight away that they weren’t working. There were cracks and peaks, and no feet. NO FEET, people, no feet. In the macaron world, this is the disaster to end all disasters.

Definitely NOT macarons

The second tray was as bad as the first, but as they came out of oven and cooled enough to be sampled, I was pleasantly surprised at how good they tasted. It was evident that I was making heavy meringues instead of macarons.

The third tray were the best yet, almost good enough to be called macarons. What was different? I mixed the last of the batter a bit more, and used a different baking function on the oven (one that wicks more moisture out). Everything I read pointed towards the mixture being under-mixed, so next time (yes, I will try again), I will be sure to give an extra few stirs, just to be sure.

Could possibly pass for macarons

I had issues with brownies for a while, but I’ve mastered them now, and I am determined not to let macarons beat me either.

A creative month

I’m feeling pretty proud of myself right now.

I achieved all of the goals I set out at the start of this month, and feel as though I have well-and-truly regained my creative mojo.

I’ve sewed birds and owls and monsters. I’ve patched jeans and sewn a button caterpillar onto a t-shirt, and I’ve got enough snowmen Christmas cards to last about a trillion years. I’m almost finished two cushion covers…I’ve just been putting off the decision whether I attempt button holes, or go for the easier option of poppers.

And, I taught myself to crochet! I don’t have much to show for it yet, as someone small – say, about 20-months-old – keeps finding it and unravelling a good portion of it! But I’m enjoying it, and I’m sure the extra practise is a good thing.

I’ve done a lot of pinning real life which is super-fun and rewarding, and have recently pinned a few more things to try. My PRL hasn’t been limited to crafty things, either.

I’ve made Meghan‘s dangerously delectable focaccia bread a few times (and each time, been too late to take any photos!), as well as Kristin‘s scrumptious Oaty Caramel Crumble Slice:

I also made a version with stewed rhubarb on top of the caramel, and it was divine:

I’ve tried using toothpaste to remove scuff marks on our lino:

(this is the same square, honest!)

and in the spirit of September’s goals, I pulled out the waterfall braid a few times…

…before chopping off all my hair, as promised:

I’ve also been creating a secret project which can not be revealed just yet, but I’m pretty proud of it so far. I’ll be able to show you after Christmas 🙂

I’m Hooked!

One of my goals for this month was to learn a new crafty skill. When I put that out there for the world to see, I had no idea what it was that I wanted to learn, just that I wanted to learn something.

I thought about it for a while, and then went to Spotlight for inspiration.

I came away with wool. I came away with wool because I saw this soft, dusky blue and had to have it in my life.

I was carrying the wool blindly to the checkout when my reverie was suddenly broken by the most practical of thoughts – what on earth did I plan on doing with it??

I wondered about learning to knit. Actually, re-learning to knit. Or – learning to knit things other than button holes, which I mastered very early on in my knitting career. My mum is a knitter, and I knew she’d be more than willing to teach me the ins and outs.

Only problem was that she and dad had taken themselves off to Perth for a couple of weeks, meaning I’d have to wait.

And I wanted to learn now.

Then I remembered reading this post, and I decided that what I really needed to buy was…

…a crochet hook.


I’ve been unleashing my inner-Nana and teaching myself to crochet.

The internet is full of all sorts of fabulous tutorials and ideas, and I was lucky enough to find a book at the library that had very clear pictures of the stitches and where the hook was meant to be each time.

My tension is a bit off, I keep adding stitches so my work is curling, and I’ve started and re-started a gazillion times, but I’m slowly getting the hang of it.

And it’s relaxing and soothing and I love it!

What I’m Making (!!)

I’ll preface this post by saying that I am NOT a sewer. It took me three tries to get my sewing “licence” in Home Ec when I was 11 years old. I struggle to sew slowly and in a straight line.

A sewing machine. Awesome.

I hemmed a pair of trousers once.

Inside out.

For the next year or so, I would smile and say, “Cool, huh?” whenever someone commented on the “embroidery” (read: overlocking) at the top of the hem.

My nana was a dressmaker (a very good one, too), and my mum is an amazing sewer. She sewed my sister’s wedding dress, three bridesmaids dresses and her own outfit for the wedding, and she made my wedding dress without a pattern, based only on the quick pencil sketches we did after I tried on the St Pucchi dress-I-loved-but-could-not-afford. The bulk of it was made while we were living on the other side of the world from each other, and it wasn’t a simple dress by any stretch of the imagination.

My dress. Even better than the original.

Despite my distinct lack of skill with a sewing machine, I’m going to share with you a couple of things I’ve been making over the last week or so.

Be kind.

Not-So-Scary Little Monsters

Slightly Lopsided Owls

Not-Quite-Completed Cushion Covers: to buttonhole or not to buttonhole?

So there you have it.

I have been creating. And it feels gooooood.



I’ve been exercising. Yeah yeah.

My abs are aching after Monday night’s yoga class (yes, for all those who think yoga is all “ohm”s and half-lotus-positions – it’s a workout), and the weather has been so lovely the last couple of days that we’ve been out for walks, and we’ve been weeding (which is hard work when you’re battling an obnoxious weed like oxalis).

I feel good.

Shake Your Craft Thang

I LOVE Christmas.

I love decorating the tree, buying gifts, making cards and decorating the house. I love spending lazy days with family and friends, eating loads of good food and generally making merry.

Christmas in our pre-make-over lounge. Yes, those walls were pink and black.

This year will be our first Christmas spent in our house, and it will be extra-super-special because my sister and her family are coming over from Melbourne, and my brother and his family are coming down from Christchurch, for our first full-family Christmas in over six years.

I’m VERY organised this year, and have been thinking about gifts for various family and friends for the past month.

Inspired by all the wonderful Crafty Mamas out there, and by Pinterest, I’ve decided that for this month’s challenge, I’m going to get my craft on, y’all.

(I may have cheated a little here, seeing I started to get my sew on last week, but….my challenge, my rules, right?!)

Getting my sew on

I’m going to:

  1. make gifts for family and friends (because everyone loves something homemade);
  2. take all that pinspiration and turn it into reality by pinning real life;
  3. take the plunge and learn a crafty new skill; and
  4. generally spend more time on creative endeavours.

I have lots and LOTS of ideas floating around my head and on my Crafts board, and I see no reason why I can’t give them (at least some, if not all) a go.

As Christmas looms, it seems like there’s no time like the present (ha – pun slightly intended), so wish me luck!

Also….be warned that if you are a clever crafty blogger, I may stalk your blog for ideas and tips and general guidance when I get stuck (which will be often).


Due to my mammoth failure for last month’s goal, I’m also going to be attempting those fit-and-healthy goals I set out here. I’ve decided that the only way to keep myself on track is to write and publish a regular account of what I’ve done.

Things I’m Loving

* I went to The Coffee Club for the first time this week, and even though Tiny wasn’t interested, it was a lovely surprise to be offered a FREE fluffy! Complimentary fluffies – which include a marshmallow (for mummy) and chocolate dusting – rock!

* This week I’ve been – this is HUGE, people! – getting my sew on. On Saturday, I borrowed my bestie’s sewing machine and (very impatiently and therefore very badly) shortened a dress. This week, I made some owls and started various Christmas pressies for some very important little people in my life. I’ve been loving it, and I keep wondering what else I can make while I have the machine here.

* Every weekday morning, my boys have breakfast together which allows me an extra half hour in bed dozing. I love that Tall always firmly shuts the bedroom door and makes sure Tiny is occupied for those blissful 30 minutes. I don’t even mind when Tiny has peanut butter breath and the smell makes me want to gag, because I’ve had my peaceful lie in.

* Loving long weekends and short weeks. Loving delicious, light-and-crispy fish ‘n chips by Lake Waihola, followed by fun in the playground. If you’re ever driving through Waihola and fancy a nibble, stop at Waihola Fresh Fish store for the BEST fish ‘n chips around.

* Super-impressed that I am prepared for trick-or-treaters this Halloween….last year, the mothers nodded sympathetically when I opened the door with a seven-month-old in my arms, but the little ghosts and witches and devils dropped their lips in disappointment. Not this year, little beasties! Not this year!

* Lastly, loving that my brother is on his way from Christchurch, and that my aunt and uncle are on their way from Sydney, so that we can celebrate my dad’s 70th birthday this weekend. This will be the first time Tiny meets my dad’s brother, and we always have a mad, crazy time when the two “boys” get together.

Linking up with PaisleyJade:

Things I’m Loving

Things I’m loving this week….

….planning a little roadie for the summer…up the west coast of the South Island, with a little stopover in Wellington and up to the ‘naki for a few days on the farm, then back down the east coast. Fun times ahead!

….opening the freezer to see little bags of homemade cheese rolls – and mixing it up at lunchtime instead of automatically opening a tin of spaghetti.

….having my voice back after 4 days of nothing, followed by a week of husk. Try diverting a cheeky toddler from trouble when you can’t talk….!

….getting my craft mojo back, and making a gazillion gift cards.

….getting outside and enjoying the warmer weather. Loving that Tiny wants to “help” in the garden. Loving a little bit of impromptu garden-yoga.

….lying in bed and listening to Tall and Tiny in the morning. Loving his toddler’s enthusiasm for absolutely everything. This morning, he learned the words “sugar” and “Weet-bix”, and followed each with a “Yee-ah! Wow, cool! Awesome!”

Linking up with other loving lovelies over at PaisleyJade

Things I’m Loving

It’s the little things I find myself loving this week. Isn’t it amazing to stop and think about all the good in your life, rather than dwelling on the not-so-good? Even the simplest things seem to be bringing me great joy at the moment, which is awesome.

Loving the cute range of shoes from Hoof – and their awesome e-sales! Can’t wait for Tiny’s feet to grow to fit these puppies.

Loving that in looking for a ten cent piece that Tiny dropped under the couch, I found a two dollar coin as well – sweet!

Loving that my first attempt at making a toy (don’t laugh. I definitely need to work on my stitching) has been a huge hit with Tiny. His official name is Charlie, but I love the way Tiny calls him “Char-deeeee”.

Loving that a craving for vegetables can easily be satisfied with one big stir-fry (chicken, hokkien noodles, oyster sauce, kecap manis and a little bit of teriyaki sauce – yum). Also loving that Tall ate all the carrots, without trying to sneak them into my bowl.

Loving the sunshine and warmth this week has brought, meaning we can leave the house sans coats, mittens and hats. Loving the approach of spring. LOVING the approach of spring!

Linking up with PaisleyJade:


Well helloooo there! Welcome, haere mai, willkommen, bienvenida, bienvenue! Come on in, take off your coat, sit down, make yourself comfortable. It’s a pleasure having you here. I’m so glad you’ve arrived.

I thought I’d start off by telling you 10 important things you should know about me before we begin this relationship. Things that define me, and go a little way to explaining who I am and why I’m here. They’ll be recurring themes, I’m sure:

1. I am obsessed with food. Consumed, infatuated, bewitched, preoccupied, OBSESSED with food.

2. I never wanted to be defined by my status as a mum, but now I realise that it is who I am and I’m proud of it;

3. I have loads and loads of crafty ideas running through my head, but am often disappointed with my execution of them;

4. I reckon my son and my husband are the most hilarious boys on the planet;

5. I have a celebrity crush on chef Michel Roux Jr. Those chocolate fondant eyes…mm-mmmm;

6. Friends and strangers alike find the size of my feet a source of constant amusement. Yes, I am trying on the same size shoes as your 9 year old daughter. No, I don’t overbalance. Two words: sale heaven;

7. I am an eternal optimist, much to the chagrin of those close to me. Apparently seeing the positives in everything can be really annoying;

8. I wish I could go to my yoga class more than once a week, and that I could motivate myself to practise more at home;

9.  I simply MUST own any novel I enjoy, and I NEVER give books away. I lend them to people – I’m all about sharing the book love – but I always want them back;

10. I’ve done my fair share of travelling and am happy to have settled down with my boys, but I get REALLY itchy little feet sometimes;

11. I don’t like even numbers.